NEW YORK — Vaccines could be mandatory for students under the man likely to become New York City’s next mayor.
Eric Adams backs a vaccine mandate for school children if there’s full Food and Drug Administration approval and a recommendation from city health professionals. On Tuesday, the U.S. moved a step closer to expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for millions more children as a panel of government advisers endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s shots for 5- to 11-year-olds.
A PIX11 News poll found 54% support a mandate while 31% do not support it, assuming full approval by regulators. The remaining were undecided.
Adams, determined to keep the city from moving backward as COVID continues to be an issue, supports a remote option for unvaccinated students, though he said he would do everything he could to get kids in classrooms.
“We must think differently and we must be open to conform this new ground that we’re on,” he said.
Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa does not support a vaccine mandate for schools.
Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, there’s only a mandate for teachers and school employees. While his administration supports vaccinations for children and teens who are eligible, officials stopped short of a mandate.
New York City could begin offering COVID-19 vaccines for children as early as next week, as long as federal regulators grant emergency authorization, de Blasio said.
“As you’re going to hear from the doctors, we’re looking at late next week or the week after, and that’s fantastic,” he said. “We’re getting ready and excited, and I think there’s going to be a whole lot of energy among parents to bring their younger kids in.”
The mayor said vaccination sites across the city are prepared and he’s considering what role schools will play as well.
“We have a lot of sites ready as always, and we’re certainly going to consider what we need to do in our schools as well. But we may be starting this on a weekend, depending on the details,” he said.